Doctor Dee on Jazz

I’m tempted to call these comments “Sin, Gin, and the Beginnings of Jazz as We Know it”. When the Secretary of the Navy closed Storyville in 1917, musicians looked for other places to play. Chicago became a draw. Joe ‘King’ Oliver took his band there and soon wired Louis Armstrong to join him in 1922.…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Pianos have been a part of the scene since what we now call Jazz, moved from the streets of New Orleans to the brothels of Storyville. The piano has been the instrument of choice for a number of great names from the past: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

The tag line promoting Jazz Appreciation Month (April, by the way) is: Jazz, born in America, appreciated Worldwide. While that statement is quite true, a huge number of Jazz musicians have been born worldwide. I have the opportunity to see and hear a number that were born and live across our Northern border – one…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Albert “Tootie” Heath The life of the Jazz musician is a hard one – late hours; days, weeks, months on the road; untold number of hours woodshedding to hone one’s skills – all of which preclude a ‘normal’ family life – and which all too often lead to drugs, alcohol and risky behavior. It’s little…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Jazz slang or lingo: smokin’, playing the skins, clams, licorice stick, hot licks, jam session, head arrangement, gig, dig, cool – and many, many more. One could easily write an essay on any of them – but I’m going to take a brief look at three here this month; three that seem to me to…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

The ‘Front Line’ was a ubiquitous presence in Jazz from the very early stages at the end of the nineteenth century until the beginnings of Bebop in the 1940’s and demise of Big Bands in the 1950’s. The Front Line is defined as the horns that play in front of the rhythm section. In the…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz Sept 2016

The written histories of Jazz are replete with myth, confusion, misinformation and, occasionally, outright lies. And I am certainly in no position to do it ‘right’; in fact I have no intention of doing the research to even begin the subject. But what have done, and continue to do is to read the various books…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz July 2016

Summer is here – and so are Jazz Festivals; using a search engine on the web, will bring up hundreds – and the list is incomplete. There are two in our area that are not included in any list I could find: Bellingham’s Bellhaven Festival in Fairhaven on September 10 and the Jazz Stage that…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

Over a long weekend recently I was delighted to attend three performances that included young Jazz musicians. We are blessed here in the NW corner of Washington to have several Jazz educators working with young musicians – introducing them, teaching them, and mentoring them in the art form we love – Jazz. This month I…

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Doctor Dee on Jazz

The youngest Heath Brother – Albert (better known as ‘Tootie’) was in our area at the end of April (Jazz Appreciation Month). As most everyone knows, Tootie – who turned 81 this spring, is a drummer. Seeing and hearing him twice (Skagit Valley College on Thursday and the Majestic on Friday – April 28 and…

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